The Traditional Option
Many people prefer handheld microphones, particularly those who are used to using dictation machines.
Most people recoil in horror when they realise that the downside of using a
system with their computer is that they are expected to wear a headset. Headsets are generally better for initial training and in noisy environments, such as open plan offices, but the "Biggles" look is very unpopular with most people.
For anyone who is fortunate enough to have either have an office to themselves or access to a quiet environment such as a meeting room, desktop and handheld microphones are now available.
The two companies offering the best handheld products are Philips and Sennheiser.
The Philips microphone is called the SpeechMike Pro and it was created specifically for the task of inputting speech into a computer.
Sennheiser, on the other hand, manufactures extremely high quality microphones used, for example, by musicians. All of their microphones have great accuracy and noise cancellation but because they are designed for purposes other than dictation, they have no extras and are very expensive.
There is another model with a USB connection, which means that it bypasses the soundcard in the computer often giving much better results. Each model costs about £150.